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12:00 AM
 | 
Aug 03, 2015
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

NK-ocking out cancer

How newly public NantKwest fits in Soon-Shiong's empire

Patrick Soon-Shiong is building what he hopes will be a suite of companies under the NantWorks LLC umbrella that together will help revolutionize cancer treatment. The latest is cancer immunotherapy company NantKwest Inc. (NASDAQ:NK), which went public last week a little over half a year after Soon-Shiong initially invested.

NantKwest is developing cancer immunotherapies based on what it calls activated natural killer (aNK) cells, which do not express killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) that diseased cells can use to turn off the function of the NK cells. NantKwest expects to start a Phase II trial of its most advanced aNK for Merkel cell carcinoma in 3-6 months.

The company also is developing haNKs, which are aNK cells expressing high-affinity Fc gamma receptor III (FCGR3; CD16)...

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